February 5, 2018

Understand what it takes to open a business

Asmar N. Akman is president and CEO of Akman Enterprises Inc.

So you are considering opening a business in 2018? Let's talk!

"It's 2018! I'm finally going to make the move! I'm going to take the jump, tell my boss to shove it and open my own business!"

This is how many people think around this time of year. Before you make the jump, just keep a few (of the many) things in mind.

Have a plan

Don't just quit your job and say, "I'll think of something," or "It will come to me when I see it." A business mirrors the same characteristics as a marriage: The more you think it through, the more you will know if it is for you or not.

Partnership vs. sole proprietor

Do you want to take the world by storm solo, or do you want a team? I personally do not like partnering with others in my business endeavors; however, there are times I wish I had someone who did take some of the pressure and responsibilities off my shoulders, especially when I'm on a vacation or need another brain to help figure out what the next big move should be. On the other hand partnerships can turn sour quickly if both parties are not in sync.

Hours of operation

This may not seem like the most important decision you will make, but believe me, it is definitely important. When I opened my business, I wanted to be the most available to my customers in comparison to my competitors. So I stayed open one hour later than everyone else, which was far in the evening. I was single and had no family life, so it was great! However, I later married and had children. I was not spending adequate time with my family, and I started to lose connection with them. I tried to hire someone for the last couple of hours during the evening, but no one was at par on running the place. I then made the decision of reducing my hours by one hour in the evening. My customers were confused when they would come by and see it closed. After a while, my clientele adjusted, and they would come in earlier.

Become social! Be a part of the community!

The absolute best business move I made was to join the local boards of different associations/charities in Worcester County. I would sponsor local sporting events, political dinners, coat drives and anything else to give back to the community while at the same time giving my business exposure. Local chambers are a great way to start and then you grow from there. This requires a very big social game. You cannot be shy. A key component when you sponsor events is to research who the big players attending will be, the topics of discussion, and then strike a conversation and break that ice.

Know your demographic

Make sure you have customers who will purchase your goods and services in the area you open. Understand the local economy and see what is lacking. Try and forecast the future of your town or city by speaking to local officials and other business owners. Then you can make adjustments to your projected business plans.

Most of all

Do what you love and be the best at it! I personally strive to be the benchmark of anything I aspire. It has placed a very strong work ethic and creed in all my business practices. Never be complacent, never be comfortable, always try and break the mold!


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